“Bikes for Cuba 2011… It was a very good year!”

A new 2011-2012 travel season is about to begin. Looking back over the past 12 months… what a year it was for Bikes for Cuba! In November of last year we were at just over 30 bikes delivered to Banes via Holguin by Canadian tourists. Now just 12 months later, it looks like we’re going to reach Jeff Reid’s goal of 100 donated used bikes to Banes (and new destinations: Moa, Varadero and Jaguey Grande!) by the end of December.

With 85 bikes shipped by mid October 2011, and at least five more on their way from Pearson to Holguin this November – there is just 10 to go to reach 100 Bikes for Cuba! Amazing to say the least.

Here’s a look back at the past year, and how everyone made it happen!

December 2010 — This time last year – heading into the holiday ‘giving’ season – Jeff Reid and Bikes for Cuba were guests on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, and local paper Snap featured a story on the Newmarket mechanics who help reassemble and fine tune the bikes for Jeff.

January 2011 — To kick the new year off right, the West Quebec Wheelers cycling club held an Ottawa ‘gear-raiser’, collecting and donating a van full of bikes, parts, shirts, pants and shoes to go with each rebuilt bike on its way to youths in eastern Cuba.

March — Winter came to a welcomed end back in Canada, with help from the Newmarket Eagles Cycling Club, and news of a great cycling performance in Cuba by the Banes high school racing team. Seven kids from the team entered a provincial competition and testing week in Holguin – completing the event in first place ahead all the other municipalities including Holguin! One of their young riders, Lazaro, was selected to attend ‘la EIDE’ in September, a special sports school for talented young Cuban athletes.

Bikes for Cuba was also invited to exhibit at the 2011 Toronto Bike Show, while local and national media coverage continued to carry Jeff Reid’s story farther and wider to Canadian tourists. The Toronto SUN, Lake Simcoe Living, Pedal Magazine, Canadian Cyclist and Get Out There magazine all showed strong support.

April — During a springtime trip to Guardalavaca, Jeff Reid was a welcomed visitor to the first ever Banes Bike Race through the streets of the rural town. Local teenagers competed by gender and age groups. Though Jeff likes to keep a low profile at these events, he was singled out and presented an Award of Thanks – “to all Canadian Tourists who have made Bikes for Cuba.”

July to October — Bikes for Cuba also made a big splash this summer, making it to page nine of the July issue of Canadian Living magazine!

November to December — To end a great year, and start another great one… the latest big news is the expansion of Bikes for Cuba to support three new high school cycling progams:  in Moa (southeast of  Banes), Varadero and Jaguey Grande  (south of Varadero).

By December 31, 2011! — We expect to reach over 100 Bikes for Cuba. So stay tuned for more, and be sure to tell a friend – to tell a friend! The island is expecting one million Canadian visitors in 2012… Imagine if they all brought Bikes for Cuba!

Written by:
Donald Wiedman
Wiedman Communications: Inside, Outside & Online
647 669 0461

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